Meet your leadership: 39th CES Commander: Maj. Matthew Welling

Maj. Matthew Welling is commander 39th Civil Engineer Squadron. Welling took command of the 39th CES June 17, 2013, Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Cory W. Bush/Released)

Maj. Matthew Welling, 39th Civil Engineer Squadron commander, took command of the 39th CES June 17, 2013, Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Cory W. Bush/Released)

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- The 39th Air Base Wing units are led by hand-picked commanders here and at geographically-separated groups and squadrons across the region. This series of features gives an inside look at those leaders and their leadership style. This feature highlights the 39th Civil Engineer Squadron Commander Maj. Matthew Welling.

Question: Why did you decide to join the Air Force and why do you continue to serve?

Answer:  I initially pursued service in the Air Force to help pay for college education expenses.  Fortunately, I applied and was accepted for an Air Force ROTC scholarship prior to the start of my freshman year in college.  Throughout my time as a cadet in ROTC and continuing during my years of active duty service, I've come to appreciate the professionalism and technical expertise of those that serve our country.  I continue to serve because I love being on a winning team, love the quality of the people in uniform, and love our country and our way of life.

Q: What is one of your proudest achievements in your military career?

A:  Thankfully, I've had numerous achievements and milestones throughout my service that I'm proud of.  However, command was always a goal and having the opportunity to command was a very significant accomplishment for me personally.  My proudest moment so far has been accepting the flag and taking command of the 39th Civil Engineer Squadron.

Q: Is there a leader from your career that influenced you the most? If so, who, and how did they affect the way you lead?

A:  Absolutely, there have been multiple leaders that have had a positive influence on my career and leadership style.  I would say the most influential of that list would be Col. (Ret.) Marvin W. Smith, Jr.  I had the opportunity to work for Col. Smith from 2004 to 2006 while assigned to the 36th Civil Engineer Squadron at Andersen AFB, Guam.  Timing wise, I was a young Capt. and had just completed my Masters in Science from the Air Force Institute of Technology (20-month assignment).  What always impressed me most was his basic approach to life and his demeanor.  Col. Smith challenged me in ways that others had not; he provided leadership opportunities and let me take chances while also providing the top cover and necessary course corrections when I made a wrong turn.  His trust and confidence allowed freedom of maneuver and the ability to positively influence the unit by not setting artificial boundaries or added layers of approval to implement good ideas and smarter ways of doing business.

Q: Leaders often face a significant challenge or watershed moment early on in their careers that influence their formation as leaders. Did you have any moments like these that helped shape you into the leader you are today?

A:  I've always tried to focus on tackling the challenge or problem at hand and then moving on to the next issue that needs to be addressed.  For me personally, it would be difficult to pin it down to one or even a short list of significant challenges or moments.  Every day brings new and more complex challenges and problems to solve; each guides your formation and plays a role in the path you take and the choices you make. 

Q: What is your personal mission statement?

A:  Work hard and focus on doing things right the first time because it's the right thing to do and we don't have time to do things twice.  I firmly believe that we need to continue to find better ways of doing business and that innovation can come from anywhere or anyone.

Q: What values and ethics are the most important you, and what do you expect from your Airmen?

A:  Fundamentally, I don't think you can do much better than the Air Force core values.  I find our core values to be foundational and essential to service in the Air Force.  I expect all Airmen to embrace and live the core values.

Q: What is your strategic vision for your organization?

A:  To continue a tradition of innovation and excellence while operating and maintaining $2.2 billion in real property at Incirlik AB, which includes 3,323 acres and 772 facilities.

Q: What are your leadership goals as a commander while here at Incirlik?

A:  I think the 39th Civil Engineer Squadron has achieved some tremendous successes over the last couple of years.  We've been able to capitalize on some tremendous opportunities and make valuable progress in maintaining the installation as a premier power projection platform.  My continuing goal is to further identify, develop and execute available opportunities to ensure Incirlik remains the best place to live, work and play.

Q: What are some of your expectations for the Airmen you lead, and why?

A:  First and foremost, be mission ready and get the job done.  Take care of yourself and your subordinates by ensuring health, moral and welfare needs are met and by establishing proper balance in your lives.  Be innovative and creative.  Implement and continue to develop effective communication techniques and skills.  Provide outstanding customer support.  Finally, have fun and take pride in what you do because no one does it better.

Q: What are your mission expectations from the units you lead?

A:  Resources will always be limited, there will always be manpower challenges and there never is enough time.  Don't focus on the limitations, focus on providing and meeting the mission needs through creativity and ingenuity.  Focus on effectively and efficiently utilizing the tools, equipment, personnel and time available to provide the best support and product that can be achieved.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?

A:  Yes, you've probably spent too much time reading my opinions and thoughts on the questions above...get back to work.